Micah 6:4
For I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of servants; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
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(4) For I brought thee up.—There seems a pause intended; but Israel, abashed, remains silent. So the Lord continues to plead: “Thou dost not testify against me? No; for I showed thee the greatest mercies: I redeemed thee out of Egypt, the house of bondage.” Moses, Aaron, and Miriam are mentioned as the three great members of the family to whom it was committed to carry out the Divine decree.

6:1-5 The people are called upon to declare why they were weary of God's worship, and prone to idolatry. Sin causes the controversy between God and man. God reasons with us, to teach us to reason with ourselves. Let them remember God's many favours to them and their fathers, and compare with them their unworthy, ungrateful conduct toward him.For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the hoarse of servants - What wert thou? What art thou? Who made thee what thou art? God reminds them. They were slaves; they are His people in the heritage of the pagan, and that by His outstretched arm. God mentions some heads of the mercies which tie had shown them, when He had made them His people, His redemption of them from Egypt, His guidance through the wilderness, His leading them over the last difficulty to the proraised land. The use of the familiar language of the Pentateuch is like the touching of so many key-notes, recalling the whole harmony of His love. Moses, Aaron, and Miriam together, are Lawgiver, to deliver and instruct; Priest, to atone; and prophetess Exodus 15:20 to praise God; and the name of Miriam at once recalled the mighty works at the Red Sea and how they then thanked God. 4. For—On the contrary, so far from doing anything harsh, I did thee every kindness from the earliest years of thy nationality.

Miriam—mentioned, as being the prophetess who led the female chorus who sang the song of Moses (Ex 15:20). God sent Moses to give the best laws; Aaron to pray for the people; Miriam as an example to the women of Israel.

Look as far back as thy coming out of Egypt, near seven hundred and forty years agone;

for I brought thee up, with an out-stretched arm, out of the land of Egypt, where by servants thou wert oppressed, where thy oppressors did plot thy utter extirpation, where thou servedst in the iron furnace.

Redeemed thee; delivered thee by mighty power, and gave Egypt for thy ransom; I made them pay dear for their detaining thee, and ill using of thee.

Out of the house of servants; being offspring of Canaan, they were in their father’s curse doomed to be servants, and were (as servile minds are) most barbarously cruel to Israel, as appears by the bloody edict against the male children, and by requiring brick without straw; their bondage was a cruel bondage under which they groaned.

I sent before thee Moses; a man excellently qualified to be a conductor to them, a very learned, martial, and experienced man; he improved his forty years by the advantages of a royal education first, and next by the great employments which such persons are called to: for his wisdom and learning, his might and valour, you have witness, Acts 7:22; the Hebrew tradition is, that he fought and got many battles, in which he commanded as generalissimo for Pharaoh. Moses was beside this admitted to extraordinary consults with God: by this means their model of polity was made very exact.

Aaron; a person called to the exercise of the highest office in the priesthood, to offer sacrifice, and make atonement for the sins of the people, and to be a type of the great Intercessor.

Miriam; a prophetess, to be assistant to her brothers last mentioned, to be example and counsellor to the women: God furnished them with magistrate, priest, and prophet. For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt,.... Instead of doing them any wrong, he had done them much good; of which this is one instance, and he was able to produce more: this a notorious, plain, and full proof of his goodness to them, which could not be denied. It may be rendered, as it is by some, "surely I brought thee up" (s), &c. this is a certain thing, well known, and cannot be disproved; it must be allowed to be a great favour and kindness to be brought up out of a superstitious, idolatrous, Heathenish people, enemies to God and true religion, and who had used them in a barbarous and cruel manner:

and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; or, "out of the house of bondage"; as the same words are rendered, Exodus 20:2; that is, out of hard service, in which their lives were made bitter; out of cruel bondage and slavery; which made them cry to the Lord for help and deliverance, and he heard them, and sent them a deliverer; by whose hand he redeemed them from this base and low estate in which they were, and for which they ought ever to have been thankful, and to have shown their gratitude by their cheerful and constant obedience. Some take "the house of servants" to be descriptive, not of the state of the children of Israel in Egypt, but of the character of the Egyptians themselves; who, being the posterity of Ham, were inheritors of his curse, that he should be a servant of servants; and so it is an aggravation of the blessing, that Israel were redeemed from being servants to the servants of servants. This sense is mentioned by Kimchi and Abarbinel:

and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam; not to bring them the news of their deliverance out of Egypt, before they came out of it, as Kimchi; but to be their guides to conduct and direct them in all matters, civil and religious. Moses was their lawgiver, leader, and commander; Aaron was their priest to offer sacrifice for them, and to intercede on their behalf; and Miriam was a prophetess; and they were all very useful and beneficial to them; and a very great blessing it is to a people to have a good constitution, civil and ecclesiastic, and to have good magistrates, and good ministers of the word. The Targum is,

"I sent before thee three prophets, Moses to teach the tradition of the judgments, Aaron to make atonement for the people, and Miriam to instruct the women.''

(s) "certe", Calvin, Piscator, Tarnovius; so some in Vatablus.

For I {b} brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

(b) I have not hurt you, but bestowed infinite benefits upon you.

4. For I brought thee up] ‘Nothing,’ is the only truthful answer to the divine question. Jehovah has indeed wonderfully assisted His people in their troubles. Nothing could extinguish the sense of the overwhelming grandeur of Israel’s first deliverance. A prophet, writing in the name of the Jewish Church of the Captivity, points back to the happy days of old, when he ‘brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock’ (Isaiah 63:11).

I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam] These were the shepherds, by whom ‘God led His people like sheep’ (Psalm 77:20)—Eastern shepherds going before their sheep (John 10:4).Verse 4. - God answers his own question by recounting some of his chief mercies to Israel. He has not burdened the people, but loaded them with benefits. I brought thee up, etc. The Exodus was the most wonderful instance of God's intervention and to it the prophets often refer (comp. Isaiah 63:11, etc.; Jeremiah 2:6; Amos 2:10). Out of the house of servants; of bondage , quoting the language of the Pentateuch, to show the greatness of the benefit (Exodus 13:3, 14; Deuteronomy 8:14, etc.). I sent before thee. As leaders of the Lord's flock (Psalm 77:20). Moses, the inspired leader, teacher, and lawgiver. Aaron, the priest, the director of Divine worship. Miriam, the prophetess, who led the praises of the people at their great deliverance (Exodus 15:20), and who probably was charged with some special mission to the women of Israel (see Numbers 12:1, 2). Election, therefore, will not save sinful Israel from destruction. After Amos has thus cut off all hope of deliverance from the ungodly, he repeats, in his own words in Amos 9:8., the threat already exhibited symbolically in Amos 9:1. Amos 9:8. "Behold, the eyes of the Lord Jehovah are against the sinful kingdom, and I destroy it from off the face of the earth; except that I shall not utterly destroy the house of Jacob: is the saying of Jehovah. Amos 9:9. For, behold, I command, and shake the house of Israel among all nations, as (corn) is shaken in a sieve, and not even a little grain falls to the ground. Amos 9:10. All the sinners of my people will die by the sword, who say, The evil will not overtake or come to us." The sinful kingdom is Israel; not merely the kingdom of the ten tribes however, but all Israel, the kingdom of the ten tribes along with Judah, the house of Jacob or Israel, which is identical with the sons of Israel, who had become like the Cushites, although Amos had chiefly the people and kingdom of the ten tribes in his mind. Bammamlâkhâh, not upon the kingdom, but against the kingdom. The directing of the eye upon an object is expressed by על (Amos 9:4) or אל (cf. Psalm 34:16); whereas ב is used in relation to the object upon which anger rests (Psalm 34:17). Because the Lord had turned His eye towards the sinful kingdom, He must exterminate it, - a fate with which Moses had already threatened the nation in Deuteronomy 6:15. Nevertheless (אפס כּי, "only that," introducing the limitation, as in Numbers 13:28; Deuteronomy 15:4) the house of Jacob, the covenant nation, shall not be utterly destroyed. The "house of Jacob" is opposed to the "sinful nation;" not, however, so that the antithesis simply lies in the kingdom and people (regnum delebo, non populum), or that the "house of Jacob" signifies the kingdom of Judah as distinguished from the kingdom of the ten tribes, for the "house of Jacob" is perfectly equivalent to the "house of Israel" (Amos 9:9). The house of Jacob is not to be utterly destroyed, but simply to be shaken, as it were, in a sieve. The antithesis lies in the predicate החטּא, the sinful kingdom. So far as Israel, as a kingdom and people, is sinful, it is to be destroyed from off the face of the earth. But there is always a divine kernel in the nation, by virtue of its divine election, a holy seed out of which the Lord will form a new and holy people and kingdom of God. Consequently the destruction will not be a total one, a השׁמיד אשׁמיד. The reason for this is introduced by kı̄ (for) in Amos 9:9. The Lord will shake Israel among the nations, as corn is shaken in a sieve; so that the chaff flies away, and the dust and dirt fall to the ground, and only the good grains are left in the sieve. Such a sieve are the nations of the world, through which Israel is purified from its chaff, i.e., from its ungodly members. Tserōr, generally a bundle; here, according to its etymology, that which is compact or firm, i.e., solid grain as distinguished from loose chaff. In 2 Samuel 17:13 it is used in a similar sense to denote a hard piece of clay or a stone in a building. Not a single grain fill fall to the ground, that is to say, not a good man will be lost (cf. 1 Samuel 26:20). The self-secure sinners, however, who rely upon their outward connection with the nation of God (compare Amos 9:7 and Amos 3:2), or upon their zeal in the outward forms of worship (Amos 5:21.), and fancy that the judgment cannot touch them (הקדּים בּעד, to come to meet a person round about him, i.e., to come upon him from every side), will all perish by the sword. This threat is repeated at the close, without any formal link of connection with Amos 9:9, not only to prevent any abuse of the foregoing modification of the judgment, but also to remove this apparent discrepancy, that whereas in Amos 9:1-4 it is stated that not one will escape the judgment, according to Amos 9:8, the nation of Israel is not to be utterly destroyed. In order to anticipate the frivolity of the ungodly, who always flatter themselves with the hope of escaping when there is a threatening of any general calamity, the prophet first of all cuts off all possibilities whatever in Amos 9:1-4, without mentioning the exceptions; and it is not till afterwards that the promise is introduced that the house of Israel shall not be utterly annihilated, whereby the general threat is limited to sinners, and the prospect of deliverance and preservation through the mercy of God is opened to the righteous. The historical realization or fulfilment of this threat took place, so far as Israel of the ten tribes was concerned, when their kingdom was destroyed by the Assyrians, and in the case of Judah, at the overthrow of the kingdom and temple by the Chaldeans; and the shaking of Israel in the sieve is still being fulfilled upon the Jews who are dispersed among all nations.
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